On May 30, the Lebanese American University (LAU) introduced its initiative to establish the Medicinal Cannabis Research Center, the first of its kind in Lebanon and the Middle East. Researchers want to find the medical and therapeutic value of Lebanon-grown cannabis. In fact, scientists around the world are exploring the benefits of this plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD,) two compounds found in cannabis, have been approved for the treatment of pain. They also improve the appetite stimulation in AIDS patients and reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy. Many countries around the world have approved the medical use of cannabis. Lebanon’s cannabis resists drought and high temperatures making it even more interesting to study. LAU President Joseph Jabbra acknowledged that this topic is controversial in Lebanon. He reminded the audience that LAU has a history of breaking taboos. Sarah Huntington Smith traveled from the United States to Lebanon and founded the first-ever school for women in the Ottoman Empire. It later became the LAU. The School of Pharmacy’s Professor Mohammad Mroueh stated that studying this plant and manufacturing pharmaceuticals could bring economic benefits to Lebanon. “We are awaiting the creation of a legal framework within which we can proceed, with the full support of the Ministry of Public Health,” he said. The representative of the ministry said that licensed research centers are allowed to grow prohibited plants in Lebanon. This is a thriving field of research in the pharmaceutical and public-health communities around the world.
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